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Fig Varieties with a Short Hang Time | The Most Important Characteristic in Humid & Mild Climates

Hang time (or the susceptibility window I've dubbed it) is a fig varietal characteristic that I've talked about a lot over the years, but I've never compiled a list of varieties on the blog that I've come across that have a much shorter than average hang time.

The susceptibility window is simply the amount of time in the final ripening stage (that every fig goes through) when the fruit is susceptible to rain, pest, critter or other damage. When figs are swelling and becoming softer up until the time we harvest, they are increasingly more susceptible to rain absorbing into the skin, so it's common sense to think about that susceptibility window as a priority. Every fig variety ripens in that final ripening stage at a different rate and is therefore susceptible to the potential for rain hitting the skin of the fruit for different lengths of time. Read more about the hang time and other important varietal characteristics for humid climates here:

When this window is very short almost nothing can go wrong. As long as we are attentive, we'll harvest pretty much every fig at a higher quality more consistently with a short susceptibility window. The opposite is also true. If a fig has an average window of about 6-7 days or an above average window of 10 or more days, the chances of harvesting a high quality fruit in a humid climate is much lower. Think about it. The longer your fruits are on the tree, the more likely something bad can happen. Rain is the fig's number one enemy. Rain can land on the skin and absorb into the fruit lowering the concentration of sugars (the brix). From there you'll see a lower quality, spoilage, mold or fermentation. This is why I've stressed the importance of this and have tried to get other fig growers on board with this idea.

It should be noted that in climates with really warm summers where the temperatures are consistently in the 90s or 100s, hang time or the susceptibility window will be greatly reduced. Even fig varieties that have an average susceptibility window of 7 days can have their window reduced to only 1 or 2 days. The heat makes a huge difference! Here in the Philadelphia area, I see temperatures in the 90s only during parts of July & August. Most of you reading this are probably in the same boat or you may be somewhere so mild that you'll see those temperatures very rarely if at all. If that's the case, having a short hang time is even more critical and for those of you in very warm climates, this information will really only matter to you if your tree is producing during your colder parts of the growing season. In tropical climates like South Florida, a short susceptibility window may be a huge advantage. Although temperatures are very warm and usually you can pick your figs very quickly, what's certain is that the frequency of your rain will almost always destroy fig varieties that have a longer window than others. They have to be able to hold up to the heat and the mechanism that controls that is still unclear to me, but they also need a short window so that you could potentially pick figs twice a day. Before each rain event.

The One
This is a Celeste strain that has really impressed me. I would highly suggest trying this variety in the rainy Southern US or somewhere tropical like South Florida. It also just may be the best choice for anywhere humid and for anywhere mild in temperature. It's got it all. Not only does the fig have a 1-2 day susceptibility window (perhaps shorter in very warm temperatures), but it also is basically indestructible. The skin on Celeste strains acts like a waterproof jacket. It's incredible.

Risoulet
This fig has a 2-3 day susceptibility window. It's very similar to Black Mission but with a pasty texture similar to the Coll de Damas. By the 2nd or 3rd day this season, it was not only able to be picked and eaten at a high quality, but they were also shriveled on the tree like The One and Little Ruby consistently are.

Little Ruby
In 3-4 days this fig is shriveled on the tree. In 2022, I was able to observe how this variety behaved during a 6 day period of rain we had due to hurricane Ian. I picked Little Ruby figs before the rain and 2 days after the rain event ended, I was able to harvest impressive quality fruits. This varieties downside is that it's not great in times of moisture. The eye is usually open and the skin acts like a sponge if the skin makes contact with water for too long. Having said this, the variety is still truly amazing. It has all of the wrong qualities, but the one that's the most important, the susceptibility window. You can read more about Little Ruby here:

Adriatic
The Adriatic figs are varieties that match the original White Adriatic fig that was commercially grown in California. There is around 20-30 named varieties that very likely have the same genetic code, but due to epigenetics show observational differences and therefore are slightly different varieties. I mentioned the importance of these varieties here:
This class of fig is incredibly flavorful. They are among the best tasting figs and even in cold weather and that's usually the time when they ripen (after temperatures have cooled down). Although I will not argue that the susceptibility window is as short as the others mentioned in this blog post, the figs can be enjoyed and eaten at a high quality much earlier than most. The other varieties mentioned will be perfectly ripe at the end of the window noted. The Adriatics have a 4-7 day hang time (depending on the named variety). That's how long it takes for them to become perfectly ripe, but these varieties don't need to be perfect to be enjoyed. That's why they're so great and why I think mentioning them in this post is critical. A much higher emphasis needs to be placed on them. They're severely underrated I feel.

De La Senyora (Hivernenca)
DLSH like the Adriatic figs are among the best tasting varieties in existence. That's pretty special. If it's going to have a short hang time like these and also taste exquisite, I don't see why you wouldn't grow it. There are very few if any downsides to this fig. Like the Adriatics there are a number of named figs of this "type". Each with different names, similar genetics and different observable characteristics. De La Senyora (Hivernenca) is one that I feel so far has a shorter hang time than the rest. That could change, but nonetheless, this particular named Hivernenca fig is more special than the rest. However, the one problem that this variety has is when it ripens. Unfortunately it's quite late, so although the window is short, you may never reach the final ripening stage in mild climates. You can read more about DLSH here:

Iranian Candy
It's been awhile since I ripened some Iranian Candy figs. It was originally called Rhaasti's Persian Unk. You can watch the video review on it below. As noted at the time, it was extremely reliable and could be grown anywhere. Why? It ripens super early and the hang time is exceptionally short. It isn't very tasty. I've seen more photos of it recently and I think the flavor will improve from my limited experience with it, but for now it remains only a choice for a small window early in the season or for growers in very mild climates.

LSU Champagne
In my early days of growing LSU Champagne in a container, the production was much earlier than it has been in the ground. The reason for that is because the container tree survived the winter every year and the in ground tree hasn't yet. Therefore the fruits on the in ground tree are late to set, are somewhat late to ripen and have a longer susceptibility window because at that point in the season the weather has cooled down significantly. I know my in ground Champagne will produce earlier this upcoming season (due to protecting it), but I don't know if the hang time will be as short as it was in the past. In about 3-4 days, this fig was perfectly ripe and just as good as some of the best honey figs.

Smith
I've talked a lot about Smith on this blog. I would highly recommend reading the variety review here:
Smith is a fig that is very well adapted to the Southern US. The skin has an incredible ability to shed water like the Celeste figs mentioned above. It's also incredibly flavorful. Again, there are some really nice tasting figs with this characteristic. Even in the cool fall weather this fig still ripens well and tastes fantastic. Why? It has a short hang time. Only 4 days and it tastes great when underripe like the Adriatics.

Some other varieties worth mentioning are: Verdino del Nord (VR), Nerucciolo d'Elba, Verdolino, Azsalodo, Black Celeste, Campaniere, Proscuitto, Rossellino, LSU Purple & Vagabond
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I'm Ross, the "Fig Boss." A YouTuber educating the world on the wonderful passion of growing fig trees. Apply my experiences to your own fig journey to grow the best tasting food possible.
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